Sunday, 20 September 2015

Review: "Primrose Path" by Owen K.C. Stephens

Welcome back to the Original Adventures series reviews.  This time I'm reviewing another Owen K.C. Stephens adventure, Primrose Path.  The module was distributed by Wizards of the Coast for the D&D 3.5 line, but it should be useful with Pathfinder and other D20 games with some conversion.  As the image says, Stephens is aiming to challenge four 6th-level characters.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Actual Play: The Craft Dungeon of Reynaldo Lazendry (part 1)

One of my regular players wanted to cut down to fortnightly games while the others were up for staying on weekly.  So rather than develop more material I turned to the stack of reviewed modules.  As we're playing AD&D First Edition, Jeremy Reaban's "The Craft Dungeon of Reynaldo Lazendry" was an easy choice - it's an engaging and rewarding beginning scenario.  If you just want a review, take that link out of here because I'm about to drop some heavy spoilers!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Review: "March of the Sane" by Owen K. C. Stephens

Welcome back to the Original Adventures review series.  The Original Adventures were free monthly adventures released by Wizards of the Coast to support their D&D 3.0 and 3.5 line (though they should be playable under Pathfinder with minimal conversion).  Owen K. C. Stephens' March of the Sane, released in August 2004, was the 14th of the series.  It's an event-based adventure for a party of four 5th-level adventurers.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Review: "The Cliff-Lair of Heeter" by Corey Ryan Walden

Corey Ryan Walden's The Cliff-Lair of Heeter is a small adventure site for 4-10 adventurers of levels 1-3, to be played under the Original D&D rules and clones of the same.  Due to the simplicity of those rules, it would be fairly easy to adapt the work for play with other TSR-era D&Ds or their OSR equivalents.  It's not free, unlike a lot of what I review, but it's modestly priced at $1.99.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Exporting the effect of AD&D ability scores: Strength

Last time, I talked about a rationale for ability scores as potential rather than realised ability.  I wanted to expand on that idea by discussing how one might export the functions of AD&D 1e's ability scores to character class and level.  (Briefly: the idea here is to keep the game more focused on these latter qualities because of verisimilitude and fairness.  It makes sense that skill is decisive and reducing the impact of random factors in character creation has long had an appeal.)  I've chosen Strength to start the discussion because it's the first in the book, but also because its AD&D functions are highly diverse.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

A necessary simplification in pursuit of realism

This is something of a follow-up to my musings on Concreteness, Inquiry, and Rationalisation.  It's not necessary to go back and read the prior post, but it might help to understand the outlook here.

This post's wordy title alludes to a commonplace view that in order to get at "realism" in games, one must add more complicated rules.  Of course, to state this view is to dispel it, as everyone knows of games that are nowhere near realistic while still being overly complicated.  Rather than bore the reader to death with a purely abstract discussion, I'm going to address the ability scores.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Review: "The Howling Hills" by Charley Phipps

This is not the greatest module in the world.
This is a tribute.
Charley Phipps' The Howling Hills is a free adventure for AD&D First Edition and its clones.  The material could be used with other TSR or OSR rules without much conversion.  The scenario aims to challenge high level adventurers - no mean feat in any game - and also has to deal with the problem of very skilled players.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: "The Tavern of Daednu" by the Oliver Brothers

The Oliver Brothers' The Tavern of Daednu is a free adventure module for low-level characters.  The cover commits the work to AD&D 1st Edition, but as usual this means that referees using TSR-era D&Ds (and clones of the same) can run Daednu with a small amount of conversion.  It's one of many free OSR resources hosted by Dragonsfoot.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Concreteness, inquiry, and rationalisation

An internal view of 15th. century Brigandine.
The question "why is this stuff in RPGs?" has been thrown around a lot lately.  In the interests of making that discussion a little more safe, let's talk about continued existence of "studded leather" armour in D&D and its successors.  I would like to think that's going to be something that can be talked about without anyone reliving past harms - and if I'm wrong about that, I sincerely apologise for my ignorance.  (There's also a reference to Rust Monsters being tied up later on, but it's not particularly explicit.)

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Campaign catch-up I: The temple in the sands

It has been a very long time since I first posted about my campaign.  Despite my absence from the blog, I'm happy to report that the game hasn't died - although one character did.  As I'm summarising a few months of play, these catch-up episodes will be a little sketchy.

Further investigations of the temple in the sands revealed a good many secrets and some fair share of treasure.  The riddle of the altar was finally revealed when the characters traced the path of the sun, opening up a hidden compartment filled with treasure. (1) Excavation showed that there was a great trap door before the altar, leading to a bizarre crypt.